Exciting filly Fontiton gets her chance to enhance her spot at the top of the Blue Diamond Stakes market order after drawing a favourable barrier in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preview over 1000m for the fillies at Sandown on Monday.
The Robert Smerdon trained Fontiton came up with barrier five in the sixteen horse field with jockey Mark Zahra retaining the ride after steering the filly to a six length debut win in the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m) at Moonee Valley in October.
Smerdon immediately spelled the Turffontein filly with the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28 the Autumn goal and bookmakers also reacted by installing her as the $4.80 early favourite for the two year old Autumn Carnival feature.
The Caulfield trainer said that Fontiton won’t be at her top going into Monday’s race but has done enough to be very competitive first up.
A solid hit out with stablemate Shamal Wind on the newly laid course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday morning gave Smerdon confidence that the filly is on target for a profitable campaign.
“They galloped good. We were happy with the work of both horses and with the benefit of that I still think that Fontiton has still got good improvement to come but we are comfortable to be in that position going into a first up run at the start of her preparation,” Smerdon said.
“Probably at the end of it Shamal Wind was a bit stronger fitness wise towards the end of it.”
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will saddle up Helsingor who has drawn beside Fontiton at barrier six.
The Dane Shadow filly will again be ridden by big race jockey Glen Boss who was aboard her on debut when second over 1000m at Flemington on January 10.
John O’Shea has two first starters, Promenades and Pursuits, two fillies by Lonhro and both have performed well in recent barrier trials.
Promenades has drawn barrier fourteen, has Damian Browne to ride and is coming off a 900m Rosehill trial win on January 6 while Pursuits will be ridden by Craig Williams from gate ten and has the benefit of a second in an 800m Sandown trial on January 13.
Leading Morphettville trainer Phillip Stokes has snapped up the services of Ben Melham for his filly Comprende who has also come up with a good barrier draw at four.
Comprende, a filly by I Am Invincible, has been to the races twice for a sixth in the Group 3 $150,000 Emirates Airline Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 4 and a third as favourite to Manhattan Blues over 1000m at Morphettville Parks on January 10.